The entire Chargers fan base held their breath on Sunday afternoon following an egregiously late hit out of bounds on Justin Herbert from his former teammate Jerry Tillery.
Tillery wasn’t even able to turn back to towards the field before the entire Chargers bench swarmed him like a malevolent group of wasps buzzing in retaliation. In an instant, the current Raiders defensive tackle was surrounded by a powder blue tidal wave that seemed destine to swallow him hole. But after a few moments of paper-thin tension, the mob settled down and the game was able to continue. However, Tillery was ejected from the game on the spot.
An event such as this understandably set social media ablaze and another former Charger defender couldn’t help but chime in.
After being asked if he had seen the late hit by Tillery on Herbert, Kyle Van Noy responded with, “Yeah, if you only knew the behind the scenes with Jerry I’m shocked hands weren’t thrown.”
Yeahh , if you only knew the behind the scenes with Jerry I’m shocked hands weren’t thrown!— Kyle Van Noy (@KVN_03) October 1, 2023
For those that can’t help but dive into the slightest bit of gossip, this was a juicy morsel.
Van Noy’s comments infer that there was plenty of drama to be had in regards to Tillery during his time as a Charger. In hindsight, you can sort’ve begin to put the pieces together. He was never a feature player when it came to Mic’d Up videos or press conferences. When he was on the podium, it was some of the most awkward, “I really don’t care to be here”-type of energy I’d ever seen.
Coming out of Notre Dame in 2019, there were also whispers that he simply wasn’t as dedicated to the sport of football as one would want in their first-round pick.
Tillery had flashes during his 54 games played for the Chargers, but ultimately his time will be remember for much more than the plays he made. He ended his time as a Charger with 19 penalties, almost double the amount of sacks (10.5) he recorded in powder blue. Most of those penalties were also of the “bone-headed” variety in which he’d hand opponents free yards in pivotal moments. In fact, 12 of those 19 penalties gave an automatic first down. The not-so-surprising thing? That habit hasn’t stopped since joining the Raiders halfway through the 2022 season.
During the Raiders’ 17-16 loss to the Rams a year ago, then-quarterback Baker Mayfield was sacked by Maxx Crosby. After the whistle was blown, Tillery slapped the ball out of Mayfield’s hands which earned him a penalty that extended the drive and led to the game-winning touchdown pass.
Fast-forward to Friday and the chaos that ensued due to another mistake that truly did seem personal in the moment. Tillery had plenty of time to pull up and/or not lay into Herbert that late. But he did it anyway.
Tillery will remain one of Tom Telesco’s biggest blemishes on his drafting resume but the Chargers and Brandon Staley did right by parting ways with him midway through last season before he could cost them a chance at the playoffs.